MOUNTAIN AREA — Well into the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 17, storms continue to pound the area with heavy rain and wind in the foothills and snow in the higher country, with the potential for flash flooding in burn scar areas.
Flash Flood Watch
From 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16 through 10 p.m. Thursday evening. Flash Flood Watch is in effect for the Mariposa, Madera, Fresno and Tulare County Foothills in the Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Kings Canyon and Tulare County Mountains. This includes but is not limited to the towns of Ahwahnee, Bass Lake, Coarsegold, Fish Camp, Mariposa, North Fork, Oakhurst, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona.
The National Weather Service says a Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.
Heavy rain totaling 2 to 4 inches may lead to excessive runoff, rising water levels on area rivers and streams and a threat of flash flooding. Additionally, mud slides, rock slides and debris flows are possible in some locations, especially in the vicinity of the Ferguson, Railroad and Pier burn scars. Some roads may become closed, impassable, or washed out.
You should monitor National Weather Forecasts and be prepared to move to a safe location should Flash Flood Warnings be issued. If you live in a flood-prone area, this would be a good time to review an emergency escape plan in the event high water or a debris flow threatens your home.
Winter Storm Warning above 7,000 feet
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Kings Canyon and Tulare County Mountains, from 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17, above 7,000 feet.
A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
Heavy snow is expected above 7,000 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Total snow accumulations of up to 4 feet are expected, with winds gusting as high as 85 miles per hour. Travel could be very difficult to impossible, and hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. Very strong winds could cause extensive tree damage.
The latest road conditions can be obtained by calling 5 1 1.
Tips from PG&E
A rainy January continues in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s service territory, and forecasts show that the strongest storm this week will arrive Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday. PG&E has a plan to safely deal with outages and restoration work. The company is urging its customers to take the necessary steps to be prepared and stay safe.
PG&E meteorologists forecast continued gusty winds from the south, widespread rain and potential for heavy mountain snow, with the majority expected to fall above 5,000 feet. A break in the storms is possible Friday lasting through early next week.
“We’re in the midst of the second large weather system of the year with the biggest storm expected late Wednesday afternoon, and we want to remind our customers to be prepared and have a plan. Our meteorology team is closely tracking the weather and working with our team in the field to ensure we’re ready to restore outages safely and as quickly as possible,” says PG&E meteorologist Mike Voss.
PG&E’s meteorology team uses a Storm Outage Prediction Model that incorporates real-time weather forecasts, historic data and system knowledge to show where and when storm impacts will be most severe. This model enables the company to pre-stage crews and equipment as storms approach to enable rapid response to outages.
Storm Safety Tips:
- Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
- Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup.
- Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.
- Secure outdoor furniture: Deck furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items should be secured as they can be blown by high winds and damage overhead power lines and property.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
- Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
- Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 811 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
Other tips can be found at pge.com/beprepared